All posts tagged 'technology'

How to Handle Emergencies in IMC

Happy Valentines Day from everyone at Globalair.com! We hope this week's post finds you in good standing and staying warm this time of year :)

I am writing this post for two reasons:

1) This time of year is when IFR, including low IFR, tends to move in more often

2) I had a friend lose all 3 gyro instruments in IFR with thunderstorms nearby and moderate turbulence too, so we discussed all the aspects of the incident and what could have been handled/prepared for better

Flying IMC is no joke, but especially when you're flying it in smaller older model planes that tend to have a lot of recurring maintenance issues. A small issue can quickly turn into a big problem if not handled correctly. 

So the best way to handle in-flight emergencies IMC? Prepare for them.

As previously mentioned, in GA flying it's the older model planes that things are more likely to break and put you in a bad situation. Especially if you have a 6 pack versus a glass cockpit. This doesn't mean that glass cockpits are foolproof, but usually, when you have a failure it's easier to recognize. A perfect example of this is having a loss of the attitude indicator and heading indicator. In the traditional 6 pack, this most commonly happens due to a vacuum system failure.

You have to be watching your instruments closely to see one of the visual cues:

-tumbling on the heading indicator

-lack of movement on the attitude indicator

-small red off flag indicating instrument failure

-loss of vacuum suction on the vacuum gauge

You can still have a gyroscopic failure aside from a vacuum system issue. In fact, there's no vacuum system in a glass cockpit and it is still possible to lose these. 

When an instrument is no longer reliable in a glass cockpit, the screen will display a large red X over it to indicate the failure. 

But then there's always the argument, what if I lose my entire PFD? Now you've completely lost everything. It's very rare, but it's possible. 

Here's the best solution I've come up with: buy 2 literal life-saving devices

Foreflight Pro Plus package (subscription a step up from the basic $99 package) and a Stratus or a Sentry. The stratus and the sentry are similar devices, the sentry is just about $300 cheaper. What both of these do is you program them when you turn them on in the plane and set them somewhere, and they'll connect to the Foreflight synthetic vision. While this isn't legally reliable, it is a LOT better than nothing when having a lost of instruments. 

In the incident with my friend, they actually got into a graveyard spiral and LIVED. All 3 gyros stopped working and they lost 2400 feet in less than 20 seconds. As they heard the air speeding up over the wing they started to take out power and bring the nose up and luckily broke out of a 400-foot ceiling just in time. At this point, they got a contact approach and just landed at the nearest airport under priority landing.

How they're still alive is a miracle, but this all could have been avoided if they had synthetic vision as a backup. 

Another good way to be prepared is to know your plane. Have those emergency procedures and a game plan memorized so you're ready to act when something goes wrong. IMC is the worst time for something to go wrong. Imagine a scenario such as an engine failure, where are you going if you can't see? Always have an idea where you're at so you can see if there's an airport to spiral over or any major highways as well. Synthetic vision can still help with this too. 

There are endless scenarios of what can go wrong, from small inconveniences to life-threatening issues. It's best to always be on your toes ready for anything. 

Do you have any personal stories of flying IFR and having an in-flight emergency? Any tips to share too? Feel free to share below.

Are You In or Are You Out?

ADS-B In VS. ADS-B Out

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

Avionics at Elliott Aviation

 

Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast, or ADS-B, is a system put into place by the FAA that promises to make the skies safer for everyone. ADS-B signals use GPS technology, which is far more reliable than radar and will allow air traffic control to reduce separation minimums. As an upcoming mandate, each aircraft will be required to transmit ADS-B to ground stations by January 1st, 2020. While the mandate to aircraft operators only requires ADS-B out, this technology can give you some highly beneficial information by utilizing ADS-B in. I’ll explain the differences below:

ADS-B Out

When you hear about mandates from the FAA, they are talking about ADS-B out. ADS-B out is a WAAS GPS based signal that broadcasts your aircraft position, vector, altitude and velocity to ADS-B ground stations. This will allow air traffic controllers to more efficiently route traffic to reduce congestion, emission and fuel consumption. To ensure safety, ADS-B needs to broadcast WAAS GPS data from a highly accurate source. Your two options are the dedicated 978 MHz universal access transceiver (UAT), or a 1090 MHz Mode S “extended squitter” transponder with an approved WAAS GPS navigation source. If you already have a WAAS GPS on board, you may just need your transponder updated.

ADS-B In

While on the surface, ADS-B may just seem like a mandate, you can take advantage of ADS-B technology by utilizing the highly-beneficial ADS-B in. ADS-B in gives you free datalink traffic and weather that can be show on select displays and mobile devices. With a dual-link receiver, ADS-B in allows you to see all ADS-B equipped aircraft in your vicinity because it receives signals for 978 UAT and 1090 MHz ES transponders. In addition, when you are in range of ground stations, you see a traffic picture similar to what the air traffic controllers are seeing.

ADS-B will give pilots and passengers many long-term benefits, however, ADS-B in gives you a more immediate return on your investment. If you have any further questions on if your aircraft will comply or how you can take advantage of ADS-B in, contact your certified avionics installer.

Mark Wilken is the Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation, which employs over 40 avionics technicians at their headquarters in Moline, IL. Mark began his career at Elliott Aviation in 1989 as a bench technician repairing radios and quickly became the manager of the department. Mark helped launch Elliott Aviation’s Garmin G1000 retrofit program in which the company has installed more King Air G1000’s than all other dealers in the world combined. Recently, he has headed STC programs for the newly launched Aircell ATG 2000 system for Hawker 800/850/900, Phenom 300 and King Air 350/B200/B200GT. Mark is a licensed pilot and holds an associate’s degree in avionics and a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Southern Illinois University.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

 

New Wi-Fi solutions for King Air Operators

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales at Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

With growth brings increased travel demands and so does the importance to stay connected to the office and your clients. Think wi-fi is out of your price range? Think again! Photo courtesy www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The importance of connectivity is often understated during flight. Historically, the use of your cell phone or internet in-flight was never an option. However, that paradigm seems to be shifting as businesses tighten budgets and workload increases. Business aviation continues to play a key role in shaping the future of many companies. With growth brings increased travel demands and so does the importance to stay connected to the office and your clients.

As employees and passengers alike travel more, a business may see flight time as an opportunity to recap an important meeting or prepare for the next. Or perhaps catch up on email to make sure you are responding to your customers’ needs in a timely manner. Your key employees can get work done on the aircraft so they don’t have to later that evening with the family. While the cost-analysis of productively over downtime might be somewhat intangible, ways to increase productivity have always been attractive to a CFO.

Wi-Fi providers for business aviation are delivering cost-effective solutions to the consumer, with owners and operators recognizing the benefits to these systems. However, King Air operators have long been searching for Wi-Fi solutions. Typically, only larger aircraft had Wi-Fi options available that made sense for the size and mission needs of their aircraft. Now, King Air owners and operators have a cost-effective solution with the Aircell ATG 2000for a fraction of the cost of the larger systems. Having your King Air equipped with Wi-Fi will keep you connected and your productivity high.

Recently, Aircell announced promotional pricing for the ATG-2000. From now until December 31, 2014, customers can own this system for $45,000, plus installation costs. In addition to lower installation costs, Aircell has lowered their monthly subscription costs and added a pay-as-you-go option.

The Aircell ATG-2000 provides Gogo Biz® in-flight Internet access for up to five connected personal devices. Passengers will have the ability to check email and browse the web. Additionally, the system allows for voice services via either the Gogo® OnePhone cabin handsets or on personal devices through the Gogo® Text & Talk service. The Gogo® Text & Talk service allows passengers to use their own smartphones and mobile phone numbers to call and text in-flight.

The Aircell ATG system operates in the 1.5 – 3.0Mbps range with future initiatives to increase speeds. Most information available on the web, including simple pictures in emails, has increased from 100K to 5,000K (5MB) in data size. This type of usage requires high-speed data transfer to view most content. Recently introduced systems have entered the market for a lower cost, but these systems only reach download speeds up to 100Kbps. Remember the days of 56Kbps dial-up service? This isn’t even twice as fast. With Wi-Fi routers, you now share that single data stream with multiple users further congesting the network. With an Aircell unit, you won’t waste your time and money waiting for an attachment to download.

In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the ATG-2000 allows operation of Aircell’s all-in-one cabin entertainment system, Gogo® Vision. Gogo® Vision is business aviation’s first turn-key, on-demand, in-flight entertainment system that puts movies, TV episodes, news, weather, flight progress and more at your fingertips. It allows access to a full library of some of the best titles in entertainment via personal tablets and laptops. The service is delivered by Aircell’s UCS 5000, an all-in-one smart router and media server.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

The Reality of Parts Obsolescence – Avionics

Mark Wilken – Director of Avionics Sales with Elliott Aviation
www.elliottaviation.com

Cathode ray tubes are commonly found in the Electronic Flight Instrumentation Systems of Beechjets, like this 400A.

Parts obsolescence is inevitable in aviation. The longer the aircraft has been in circulation, the harder it can be to find parts. This especially holds true in avionics because of the parallels they have with consumer electronics. The components that make up the avionics found in the cockpit weren’t originally designed for aviation; they were actually made for the average consumer. To build an Electronic Flight Instrumentation System (EFIS), avionics companies used technology developed for consumer electronics.

Unlike consumer electronics, airplanes are built to fly for many years. Consumer electronics on average have a life cycle of just a few years before something new comes out. As new technology is introduced into the market, old technology becomes obsolete. Consumer electronics have progressed rapidly, especially in the past ten years.

One example that is currently affecting many operators is the cathode ray tube, or CRT, most commonly found in Beechjets and airframes produced through the mid 2000’s. CRT’s were first introduced into airplanes around the 1980’s when microprocessors were coming of age. The simplified version of how the CRT works is that it uses high voltages to excite the screen phosphors within the tube and, in return, creates the picture. However, CRT’s are very susceptible to screen burn. If you can remember, old CRT monitors required screen savers as a preventative measure. If you left the same image on the screen for too long, it would burn the phosphor and leave a shadow of the image. When it came around to installing these CRT’s into the EFIS, specifically attitude and horizon, or HSI, level flights would show the exact same image for hours at a time, eventually burning the screen.

When CRT’s were readily available and plentiful, replacement wasn’t an issue. Consumers were still purchasing CRT TV’s and manufacturers were still producing replacement parts. In fact, Panasonic and Sony produced many of the CRT’s found in EFIS equipped airplanes. However, due to the rapid change in the consumer electronic market, CRT’s switched to LCD’s overnight. This caused the companies making the components for the CRT’s to shutdown and discontinue supporting the product. This is leading to obsolescence in replacement parts for all of the CRT EFIS equipped airplanes.

Avionics manufacturers predict that by the second half of the decade, replacement CRT’s will not be available to repair existing EFIS displays. Unfortunately, this leaves most owners and operators with little choice if they want to keep the same system. One option is to purchase a used EFIS display that was removed from a prior airplane, but that comes with the unknown of how long it will last. Another option is to spend a significant amount of money to send your parts to a specialist for repair at an increasing cost due to shortage of replacement components. Eventually, every CRT will possess significant screen burn. With performance standards gauging this, your airplane could eventually run the risk of being grounded.

Since there are a significant number of quality airplanes still flying, specifically the Beechjet, there will be a need for updated avionics. Engine parts should not be an issue because they don’t have a mass consumer market driving change. Current engine components work as designed and consumers aren’t forcing the need for new and faster components. But for avionics, there will be a point in time where you need to determine whether you want to keep flying the airplane and update the avionics or buy a new airplane.

Fortunately, there are several avionics retrofits available that will keep your plane flying long into the future. In fact, avionics manufacturers have been preparing for this by investing millions of dollars in research and development. For the Beechjet, Collins has updated their Pro Line series from the Pro Line 4 to the Pro Line 21. Additionally, Garmin introduced the G5000. Both of these retrofits are designed to significantly increase the capabilities of the airplane for the fraction of the cost it would take to purchase a new airplane.

Full implementation has yet to happen, but you can expect it within the next few years. The need hasn’t hit all owners and operators yet, but it’s beginning to trickle down. Inevitably, you will need to consider the available options.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

YouTube Turns 5: How technology is changing business and how we can help

News Flash: The Internet is changing the way we live our lives.

OK, so that is not news. And this post is not, per se, aviation related. However, it makes an interesting point that applies to the airfield and everywhere else.

Wired.com brings us news as YouTube celebrates its fifth anniversary that the video site dwarfs the number of people watching network television in prime time.

The article above goes as far as to wonder whether YouTube will replace broadcast and subscription TV altogether in coming years. Considering its impact in a half decade, it is an idea that is not out of reach.

As mobile entertainment and communications platforms continue to morph with technology, iPads, Droid phones and Skype, it changes the way we do business.

For instance, we now have a feature so someone interested in buying an aircraft can send a text message to the person selling it. Clients are meeting face to face via web cam.

Information is more accessible and moves much more freely. Just as the aircraft revolutionized business and personal travel in its golden age, information technology continues to do the same today.

It is important to make sure your business is visible in the ever-growing 21st Century marketplace.

We have delivered many tools over the years to help aircraft sales departments and FBOs do just that, and we are hard at work creating even more such platforms.

As a destination for pilots and flight staffs to find aviation information, we are a high-value target for anyone in the industry to utilize to get seen. 

Register for a My Flight Department account, list your business in our aviation directory, advertise with us.    

Weigh in below and let us know what you like about what we have done with the site, and what you would like to see.    

Thanks again for reading.

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